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Why do we want to achieve freedom?

  1. Sep 6, 2007 #1
    Our whole life, we are always about finding out our purpose. Reasons of why things happen or the way they are. And acceptance/love. However, In my theory(hinduism) these are only means to attaining freedom.(becoming fearless b/c that is what stops us)

    I know that the more choice(control over ourself) we have, the more we realize our existence.(which obviously will increase the less we will fear; the more open our mind is...like an unbrainwashed kid, he has no beliefs, no theories, so no bounds in his head.) And the more we sense our presence(for instance, we seek attention so that we actually feel we exist because people recognize our innerself), the happier we become. That is how I came up with the definition of happyness...awareness of our existence. At which point, all are cravings end because they are a result of unsatisfaction, strived from a goal to satisfaction.(In buddhism, there is a theory, "art of empty mind" in which you only observe, don't think.... so you become purely unselfish and full of compassion since there is nothing to prove, hence, you loose ego(ego: any percentage of confidence on existence of a theory or more) That is how they gain psychic powers, fearlessness, truth, etc. b/c they simply see the truth instead of trying to understand it. Now these are just theories I have came up with.... you can tell me a conter argument if you don't agree and if you don't care, then just tell me.... Why do we want to be happy? It seems kinda meaningless to me.

    Btw, I now also understand that actually, accepting and denying, both are evil. B/c by accepting, you are denying other theories, and by denying, you are accepting your own theory. The only the nonevil is to not make up the mind but "cease the moment." But then again, the question still hants me, why not become evil?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2007 #2


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    That's kind of a strange question. Happiness and sadness are as real as physical pain and pleasure. You want to minimize the pain and maximize the pleasure because, by definition, pain hurts and pleasure feels good.

    We want to be happy because happiness feels good.
  4. Sep 6, 2007 #3


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    Firstly, there is a lot of grey area in life, not as clear cut as simply accepting or denying. Besides, what if for the first half of your life you are an "accepting" person and in the second half you are the "denying" type? Does that mean you are evil or good or neither? Secondly, what is good or evil is a totally subjective concept. If you follow the teaching of a certain religion, you may have a different definition compare to someone who has no religious beliefs for instance.

    At some level, we all do in the eyes of the others. A devoted christian may always see a non-christians being "evil", while the non-believers themselves won't see it that way at all. However, you question is addressing a different concept I think: namely, perhaps there is some universal way of defining what is good and what is evil (by the way there is no such thing), and so if being evil makes us a lot happier and carefree, why not just go for the easier path?? eh? But then, life is not so simple, perhaps if you are the only beings in this world, then it is ok. The fact that we are all constantly interacting with our envirnoment and other beings, it becomes not just a matter for the "short term" gain, but also for "long term" happiness. eg. You upset someone now to make yourself happy, but you may be worse off further down the track. This possible fact may make you to rethink before your actions. So, in a sense, we shall always "try to reduce the pain", now whether this is classified as "evil", I am not sure. BUt one thing is clear though, we have learnt over the years that short term gain won't usually lead to long term gain.

    at the end of the day, it is just a choice different ppl with different personalities have to choose. Your choice is no better or worse than mine, for it really only matter to YOU and you alone in the long run.
  5. Sep 6, 2007 #4
    Your definitions of words, perhaps, needs a little work. As Russ pointed out, the definition of happiness is those feelings which we say we want. Of course, I agree with you that desire is the source of unhappiness, but a person's gotta start somewhere! Even the Buddha and Gurus weren't born enlightened.

    Most of what you describe in the beginning of your post can be summed up in a single word:


    By definition to be spontaneous is to be free. Free of inhibitions, anticipations, and expectations. Taoists often point to new born babies as being so spontaneous they can yell all day long without going hoarse. However, I would never describe a baby as "evil". To quote that immortal philosopher, Popeye, "I yam what I yam and dats all dat I yam". A baby is no more evil than a rock could be said to be evil. They simply are what they are.

    Asian philosophy, including Hinduism, emphasizes attitude and affect more than behavior. My favorite example of this is the Option Institute. Our melodramatic societies demand dramatic examples, and the Option Institute provides them. Likewise, our high tech societies demand logic, and the Option Institute provides that as well. However, above all they emphasize attitude. Changing how you think is comparatively easy.

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  6. Sep 7, 2007 #5
    But your "want" is basically trying to answer the question, weather you exist, especially to yourself. That is why people say, "I want to win the world championship"(trying to figure out if they are capable), "I want you to love me"(trying to see if they are worth being loved), etc. Each want is a step to satisfaction after which crossing, one becomes more aware(of their existence since what they want, and reality tends to match up, they start believing in themselves; that they exist, they are capable of making changes, they are a cause, not effect). At the end, the person becomes completely aware(enlightened). Which brings us to the question, does superiority exist? If 2 kids were to give all they got into something, what would happen.(I am not talking about 1 shot match, but some sport where you get tons of rematches, etc.)

    Btw, why do we want to feel good?(try feeling bad for once, see what happens)
    The thing is, a lot of time, what I think I should do, and what I want to do are two different things. Practicality vs. passion, etc. come into count. And it is really hard to determine which is the real voice. Spiritual leaders say that listen to your heart but if my own heart is unpredictable, how is that really me? I mean why cant I know what my heart will want tomorrow? So that is why I have hard time being satisfied with the answer that "we want happyness b/c it feels good" B/c I feel like there are two voices inside my head, and whatever I do, one of them feel good. Which one is me?(I sorta know that answer but don't know how people derive into it)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  7. Sep 8, 2007 #6
    Feeling good is an aspect of being spontaneous. To be spontaneous is to be ourselves, to be natural, to not be confused or conflicted. For example, something funny happens and without thinking you laugh. Another example, a musician becomes lost in their music, looses track of the time and forgets about their problems. None of these people needs to be enlightened in order to experience a taste of enlightenment. The Atman or Buddha or whatever exists within each of us whether or not we are enlightened.

    A common Asian metaphor for the human mind is the cyclone. Our habitual ways of viewing life fly around us in utter chaos, bouncing off each other causing damage and confusion. At the center of the storm all the confusion ends as we stop to appreciate our lives and leave our habits behind.

    If you are confused about which voice to listen to, then you are refusing to let go of a habitual way of living, a habitual way of viewing life, an abstract way of living. That way is keeping you anchored in the storm. Hence, the more important question is not which voice to listen to, but what habits are causing you confusion.

    In many respects we are all our own worst enemies. No one can fight us to a stalemate or push us into a ditch faster than we can. Because of this figuring out how we do fight ourselves can be as difficult as seeing the back of your head. Without two mirrors it is impossible to see the back of your head. Likewise, without special tools it can be impossible to see our own problems clearly. The trick then is to find ways around these limitations.

    For each of us the ways around these limitations is as unique as we are.

    Habits are the end of honesty and compassion,
    The beginning of confusion,
    The sage dwells in the fruit not the flower,
    He accepts substance and rejects abstraction.
  8. Sep 9, 2007 #7
    Very well said, you had enlightened me for a moment. :-) About the Buddhas, they figure out how to be spontaneous at all times unlike us I suppose. And yes, as it turns out, I do have some unusual attachments.

    But I guess the question still remains, we have gone closer to the truth though. I asked someone yesterday the same question, and she said it is not the happiness or freedom we are after, it is fulfillment(feeling whole on the inside). And you said that the way we feel whole on the inside is by being ourself, not a habit.(if I am decoding right) But the problem still exist, why do we like to become whole? Why can't we exist as incomplete picture? I know this is a meaningless question b/c we sorta understand it before reason, it comes natural to us. But I am trying to get what does meaningless things mean. For instance, I man who has a good life, it is meaningless for him to suicide...but what do we mean by MEANINGLESS?

    *Don't get technical here, don't open the dictionary on me, think of it as a slang.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  9. Sep 9, 2007 #8
    Ancient Chinese saying, "Don't listen to what people say, watch what they do and you'll know what they want."

    Again, by definition happiness and contentment are those feelings we say we want. If someone really wants to be whole, wants to be happy, all they have to do is allow themselves to be whole. Allow themselves to be unconflicted and content. People say they want all kinds of things, but as often as not it is just their confusion talking.

    Denial and other habits run deep. All of us started out playing make-believe, but somewhere along the line we decided to get serious about our make-believe and call it fact. By the time we reach adolescence we've lost almost all contact with who we really are. Then it takes another ten or twenty years to find some kind of workable compromise. That is, if you aren't really unlucky!

    Only people could make such a simple thing as contentment so complicated.

    Stress kills. It's a simple fact of life. It raises your blood pressure, does funky things to your heart, packs on the pounds, plays hell with your hormones, etc. Small wonder then that people often say they want to feel better, be happier. As if all our mental gymnastics weren't complicated enough, sometimes our own physiology betrays us. Some people are just born stressed out, it can be genetic like any other disease.

    There, that's about as slang as I can get on the subject.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  10. Sep 9, 2007 #9
    so you are saying, we want happyness b/c thats who we are...amazing, I didn't think it could be this easy, yet I knew it all along.

    Now lets move to the solution..
    what is a habit(spiritually)? How do I break it?
  11. Sep 11, 2007 #10
    In this case, habits are responses to ingrained beliefs which, in turn, are habitual ways of viewing reality. Although westerners tend to make distinctions between thoughts and feelings, the two are really synonymous. It is through our feelings that we give things meaning and priority, and without thoughts and feelings we would behave like bacteria or computers in a preprogrammed stimulus/response manner. Instead of being purely stimulus/response oriented, we also create some of our own programming in the form of beliefs and habits. From a spiritual viewpoint, habits are a denial of the miraculous and unique nature of each moment.

    As I have already said, the solution is as unique as the individual because all we have to do is allow ourselves to be happy. Of course, some of us are more hardwired than others to be unhappy and may wish to use medication and therapy. As someone else suggested, meditation can be helpful and is now recommended by the American Medical Association.

    Taoists like to say, "Many paths, one mountain". We are all on a journey towards acceptance. Self-acceptance, acceptance of others, acceptance of the world we live in. No matter where you start on that journey, inevitably real progress is only made when we turn inward to find our own acceptance.

    Earlier I recommended the Option Institute as a good place to start. They are New Age Hippy Dippies and whether or not you agree with their philosophy their work and success is undeniable. They have a great deal of free material at their website, which largely consists of case studies. They unabashedly attempt to touch your soul in much the same manner as the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of books does. In this manner they reawaken our awareness of just how important our feelings are.

    Some people are more intellectually inclined and don't like reading such case studies. For them, I recommend Contextualism as a good place to start. However, because it is the same mountain we climb, anyplace is a good place to start. After all, the journey is the reward.


    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  12. Sep 11, 2007 #11
    But why are ingrained beliefs bad? I mean isn't it what faith is all about? Isn't it where fearlessness lies?(our goal) I understand that at the beginning, the mind can become very narrow through this path, but doesn't it open it wide up at the end as you unite with the concept?(The concept is just an illusion, real thing is you, the more believe in concept, more fearless you become, similar to how love is....the more people accept you, the more you accept yourself.)
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